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In a continuing effort to reduce the caseload at the D.C. Court of Appeals, the court has instituted a one-year appellate mediation program for civil appeals. Starting this week, all parties who are represented by counsel will be required to attend alternative dispute mediation sessions to see if their appeal can be settled without being brought before the court. While participation in the pilot program is mandatory, not all cases will be assigned to mediation sessions. Some cases will be assigned to a control group where mediation will not be offered. The yearlong pilot program is an outgrowth of a similar limited mediation program that was successfully tried at the court this summer. Ed Schwab, head of the appellate division of the D.C. Attorney General’s Office, says his office had a positive experience with the program. He cited one case that was settled within three hours. “So we were quite happy,” he says. But Schwab cautions that not every case can be settled, especially those that don’t involve money. In some cases, citizens will be seeking a remedy for a government action, and in cases like those, mediation may not work. Nevertheless, he says, “Anytime you can settle, I think it is a good idea.”
Bethany Broida can be contacted at [email protected].

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